Ashland University volleyball head coach Kevin Foeman announced Thursday (Feb. 7) the signing of seven players to the program for the 2019 season. It is the first full recruiting class for Foeman, who will enter his second season guiding the Eagles.
"We are extremely excited for this incoming class," Foeman said. "It is well-rounded and deep. Our hope is that this class can make its presence felt immediately while being a huge building block for the future of this program.
"Every one of these players is a well-rounded athlete with a high ceiling. Most importantly, this class is full of high character, selfless, blue-collar kids who want to put in the work to excel. The future of AU volleyball is bright with these athletes."
The Eagles were 25-7 overall last season, winning the GLIAC South title with a 14-2 conference record. The Eagles qualified for the NCAA Tournament as the No. 7 seed in the Midwest Region and took No. 2 seed Ferris State to five sets in the quarterfinal.
Following are the profiles of the seven players signed in this recruiting class. The 2019 season will begin Sept. 6 with home matches against Notre Dame College and California (Pa.) in the AU Invitational.
Bri Dancy | OH/MB | 6-3 | Massillon, Ohio/Massillon Washington | NOVA and Zero Graviy Volleyball Club
Dancy was the top offensive player three years in a row and was named All-County District 4 as a senior… She was a first team Division I selection as a junior and senior…Academically was in the top 10 of her senior class and valedictorian.
Reason for choosing AU: "Ashland offers everything I was looking for in a university and the environment was very welcoming and joyful when I visited."
Most excited about for next year: "New beginnings and experiences."
Expected major: Exercise science
Foeman on Dancy: "Bri is a talented athlete who has the ability to hit and block at all three front row positions. Her net presence makers her an instant impact player from a defensive standpoint, and she has a live arm with huge upside. She is a motivated student and I can't wait to see how she progresses and grows over her career at AU."
Kylie Patton | MB | 6-3 | Grant, Mich./Grant | Michigan Volleyball Academy
Patton is a three-year all-region and all-conference selection… She was also selected to the All-Michigan honorable mention list and was on the Muskegon Dream Team… She was named Academic All-State.
Reason for choosing AU: "I chose Ashland because Coach Foeman is a big family man and growing up in a small community, that's the best thing to hear. When I came down for a camp, the team was so kind to me and they were powerful in their playing. I fell in love with it."
Most excited about for next year: "I am excited to finally go to college and be a part of an amazing team. I'm ready to be pushed to be my best."
Expected major: Political science/pre-law
Foeman on Patton: Kylie is a highly motivated player who can make an impact immediately with her dynamic arm and ability to be an M1. She has the athleticism and passion to compete at the next level and I expect her to fit in well with our system. Defensively and offensively, she can be a big piece in the future of Ashland volleyball."
Anna Krikke | MB/RS | 6-1 | North Royalton, Ohio/North Royalton | Southwest Volleyball Club
Krikke was named honorable mention all-conference and all-district.
Reason for choosing AU: "I love the atmosphere and everything the school has to offer academically and athletically. It is also close to home."
Most excited about for next year: "I am excited to experience living away from home and being independent. I am excited to meet new people and play college volleyball."
Foeman on Krikke: "Anna has a bright future ahead of her at AU. She is a fantastic kid who I can see contributing in the middle or right side positions for us. Another high-level athlete, she hits for high percentages and provides a big presence at the net."
Stephanie Smith | S | 5-9 | Rochester Hills, Mich./Stoney Creek | Michigan Elite Volleyball Club
Smith was named to the Division I all-region team her last two years and was an all-state honorable mention selection as a senior… she holds the Stoney Creek High School records for assists in a match (51) and assists in a season (1,062)… Smith is a two-time AAU Academic All-American.
Reason for choosing AU: "I chose Ashland because the campus was beautiful and I really liked the coaches. They have all be very successful in volleyball. When I met the team, I knew I would fit in very well."
Most excited about for next year: "I am most excited to play at a higher level in a competitive league."
Expected major: Exercise science
Foeman on Smith: "Stephanie is a high-level setter who had a fantastic prep career that has prepared her for the next level. She sets a very hittable ball and is one of the better defensive setters I have recruited. She plays with a demeanor that demands the best from her attackers and I am excited to see how she can impact our program."
Natalie Restille | OH | 6-0 | Ashland, Ohio/Crestview | V5 and NOVA Volleyball Club
Restille is a two-time All-District VI first team selection and was named to the All-Ohio Division III second team as a senior… she was named to the third team as a junior… last season, Restille was the Mansfield News Journal Player of the Year… she was also named to the Firelands Conference all-academic team.
Reason for choosing AU: "The school being so close to my hometown, I always dreamed of being an Eagle, and I felt the school was a perfect fit for me."
Most excited about next year: "I am very excited to gain another family through the sport I love and look forward to the 2019 season."
Expected major: Biochemistry
Foeman on Restille: "Natalie has a huge upside as a six-rotation outside for us. She already possesses a great platform and a mechanically-sound arm swing. With maturity and strength, I expect her to develop the ability to terminate at this level while bringing consistency to our serve-receive and defense. It is important that we try and get the best of the area to come to AU."
Amanda Middendorf | OH | 5-10 | Loveland, Ohio/Mt. Notre Dame | Elevation Volleyball Club
Middendorf was the winner of the M&M Spirit Award with her varsity volleyball team as a senior.
Reason for choosing AU: "I chose Ashland for its volleyball success this past year. They have the available classes I need for working toward my degree while pursuing volleyball."
Most excited about next year: "I am most excited about being on campus, being part of a team, forming relationships and receiving my education."
Expected major: Interested in dentistry, child psychology and exercise science
Foeman on Middendorf: "Another player with huge upside, Amanda is an incredible athlete who will really improve our program as a whole. She won us over pretty quickly with the passion and effort she puts forth on the court. Not many athletes play with the type of fire we saw from Amanda, and I am excited to see how this translates over to our practices and program for the future."
Abbey Fletcher | DS | 5-5 | Saline, Mich./Saline | HVVC and Toledo Volleyball Club
Reason for choosing AU: "I really liked the campus and the atmosphere, and I also really loved the volleyball team and coaches."
Most excited about next year: "I am really excited to play at such a high and competitive level. I am also excited to meet and play with like-minded girls and to have a great college experience."
Expected major: Special education
Foeman on Fletcher: "I have been lucky enough to see Abbey progress over the last few years into the player she is now. Quick, explosive and a competitor, she is extremely coachable and plays with the intensity needed as a defensive specialist. She knows our system well, our coaching style, and the effort and work ethic we expect out of our athletes. We have high hopes for Abbey in our program."